Shakespeare 400 revisited

The Shakespeare 400 course was organised jointly by the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in autumn 2016.

After the first lecture on the history of English and the early printing history of Shakespeare’s works, the students delved deeper into other topics in Shakespeare studies. Aino Mäkikalli discussed Shakespeare’s sonnets, situating them in their historical and ideological context. Anthony Johnson highlighted the influence of early modern school curricula on Shakespeare’s plays.

The Finnish translations of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets were introduced by Outi Paloposki. For example, in an early translation of the Scottish play, one of the characters is called Pirjo. Intrigued? Read the play here.

Tom Linkinen and Hannu Salmi approached Shakespeare from the point of view of cultural history. Linkinen discussed the ways in which genders and sexualities are performed in Shakespeare’s plays. Salmi, in turn, started from a mnemohistorical point of view, showing the audience examples of how Shakespeare has been interpreted on the silver screen. The last lecture by Joel Kuortti focused on the postcolonial rewritings of The Tempest.

The students also engaged in small group work. One of the tasks was to translate into Finnish Benedick’s troubled rant from Much Ado About Nothing (V.ii.35-41). It works quite nicely in the Turku dialect, too!

    En sunka mää ny mittä riimei ossa. Kyl mää niimpal yriti, mut ei mul mittä muut tullu miäle ku ”flikoi” ja ”sikoi”. Kuka ny simmossi puhu! Eikä koulun kans men mikkä muu, ku joulu. Mittä järke… Ei munt kyl ol tarkotettu mittä runoi värkkämä, eikä nättei puhuma muutenka!
    (Translation: Tuula Viitanen)

Text by Mari-Liisa Varila

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